Group helps give food resistance

For those with trouble fitting into their holiday best after being surrounded by the seasons cookies, candies and desserts, help is in sight. Larry Spenst finds the assistance from a weight management group called Take Off Pounds Sensibly. So far...

For those with trouble fitting into their holiday best after being surrounded by the seasons cookies, candies and desserts, help is in sight.

Larry Spenst finds the assistance from a weight management group called Take Off Pounds Sensibly.

So far, he lost 36 pounds in two years while a part of TOPS.

He is the leader of the Take Off Pounds Sensibly group that meets in Wadena on Monday nights.

Several groups meet in and around Wadena, to offer encouragement and information for people who want to lose weight.


About 17 people belong to the group that meets at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the Wadena Veterans of Foreign Wars. Another group, with about 22 people, meets at 9:50 a.m. Wednesday in the Wadena VFW.

Other Take Off Pounds Sensibly groups meet in surrounding towns including Deer Creek, Sebeka and Verndale.

The groups gather for support, with the main objective to take off, or keep off, weight.

The Monday night group advertises with a flyer saying join friends in a losing cause.

The meeting focuses on help and support for losing weight.

A significant activity is the weigh-in. Each member is weighed before the weekly meeting. Weigh-ins begin at 6 p.m. for the Monday Wadena meetings and 9 a.m. for the Wednesday Wadena meetings.

The weigh-ins meant weight loss for Spenst.

When you have to face the scale every Monday, that makes a difference, he said.


Kathy McGrane, Take Off Pounds Sensibly leader for the group that meets Wednesday mornings in Wadena, lost quite a few pounds over the years, but losing weight is a slow process, she said.

She said watching what you eat might be more difficult during the holidays with all the goodies and things people want to eat, but its still important to pay attention.

You just got to stick on the program and watch what you eat, McGrane said.

She finds the program helps.

They try to lose weight, McGrane said. Its a thing you look forward to and you try to look better.

Spenst finds support as another important element to keeping off weight.

Support is emphasized throughout the meeting, even in roll call.

During roll call, members say how much theyve lost or gained or if theyve stayed the same.


Claps come when members say theyve lost pounds or maintained weight.

When people report that theyve gained weight, their peers at the Monday night meeting say, Glad youre here!

The Wednesday morning group will say something like, Try more next time.

Rewards are given to people who lose certain amounts of weight.

Birthdays and anniversaries are acknowledged through Happy Birthday or Happy Anniversary songs.

In the middle of the meeting, members give suggestions for losing weight. At a recent Monday meeting, the suggestions were exercising, no pie and no eating before bed.

The Monday morning group also read a selection about having time from a book called, The Choice Is Mine.

At the Wednesday morning meeting, members talked about fad diets and how they can be unsafe.


Not all people who go to Take Off Pounds Sensibly meetings are trying to lose weight.

Members find out their ideal weights through their doctors. When Take Off Pounds Sensibly people reach their ideal weight, they become Keep Off Pounds Sensibly members. Keep Off Pounds Sensibly members cant lose more than 7 pounds and cant gain more than 3 pounds.

Mardee Mohs is a Keep Off Pounds Sensibly member.

People say, Oh, you dont need to. Thats the reason I go, so I can keep it off, Mohs said.

Gladys Zuelow has been a Take off Pounds Sensibly member since 1976 and a Keep Off Pounds Sensibly member since 1981. She has lost 75 pounds since joining the group.

Just coming every week and hearing stories helps lose weight, Zuelow said.

Along with the weekly meetings, the groups have a few annual or semiannual activities.

The Monday evening group will have an open house Jan. 16. Gwen Smith, coordinator of the Take Off Pounds Sensibly area including Wadena, will talk at the open house. At the open house members will talk and serve healthful food.


The Wednesday group will not have an open house but will have a Christmas party.

The groups attend a rally in the fall and spring with other groups.

Take Off Pounds Sensibly is a nonprofit organization. The members pay dues.

For more information about Take Off Pounds Sensibily, contact: Spenst from the Wadena Monday group at (218) 631-7007 or Marilyn Trout at (218) 631-4698 from the Wadena Wednesday group. For a listing of other Take Off Pounds Sensibly groups and meeting places, see the Take Off Pounds Sensibly Web site at .

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